For the first time in five years, Manchester will host a mixed martial arts event.
BONE MMA, which stands for Best of New England, will feature seven fights at JFK Coliseum starting tonight at 6:30.
Local fighters Paul Gaffney (Team Link in Hooksett) and J.T. Harold (Team Pit Bull out of Plaistow) will square off, with the bout carrying extra meaning for Gaffney.
His two children, Paul Gaffney IV (age 6) and Harlee Grace (age 4) suffer from Canavan disease, a degenerative disorder that causes progressive damage to nerve cells in the brain.
There will be a fundraiser at the MMA event to raise money to help the Gaffney family with expenses related to the care of the children.
“My kids are my inspiration to fight,” Gaffney said. “I’m really looking forward to the fight. My opponent is the No. 2 ranked fighter in New England. We’re both lefties with a similar game plan to stand in there and bang with each other.”
The main event of the night features Traylor Trahan (2-0), who trains in Bedford and is a former amateur champion. He’ll be taking on Phil Parrish (1-0).
Show promoter Ryan Fennelly said it was difficult to get the event off the ground in Manchester, but is hopeful this could lead to more down the road.
“We had a lot of hoops to jump through with the city. The last MMA event here was in 2008,” Fennelly said. “People said it was a challenge to do it here and that made me want to do it even more.”
Tickets are available at the door and cost $40 for general admission.